Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

2012 DEFENSIVE LINES

Regular season totals, playoffs not included

Revised as of 9/1/2013

Teams are ranked according to Adjusted Line Yards. Based on regression analysis, the Adjusted Line Yards formula takes all running back carries and assigns responsibility to the offensive line based on the following percentages:

  • Losses: 120% value
  • 0-4 Yards: 100% value
  • 5-10 Yards: 50% value
  • 11+ Yards: 0% value

These numbers are then adjusted based on down, distance, situation, opponent, and the difference in rushing average between shotgun compared to standard formations. Finally, we normalize the numbers so that the league average for Adjusted Line Yards per carry is the same as the league average for RB yards per carry. Defensive line stats (more accurately, defensive front seven stats) represent the performance of offensive lines against each defense, adjusted for the quality of offensive opponents. These stats are explained further here.

The following stats are not adjusted for opponent:

  • RB Yards: Yards per carry by running backs against this defense, according to standard NFL numbers.
  • Power Success: Percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown. Also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer. This is the only statistic on this page that includes quarterbacks. Teams are ranked from lowest power success percentage allowed (#1) to highest power success percentage allowed (#32).
  • Stuffed: Percentage of runs where the running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage.Ranked from most stuffs (#1) to fewest stuffs (#32).
  • Second Level Yards: Yards earned by opposing running backs against this team between 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries.
  • Open Field Yards: Yards earned by opposing running backs against this team more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries.

NFL averages for each stat given in red.

Why are these rankings different from the team defense DVOA ratings for rushing? Among other reasons, they don't include quarterbacks or fumbles, long runs are truncated, and a different set of adjustments is used, attempting to isolate line play rather than total team defense.

A team with a high ranking in Adjusted Line Yards but a low ranking in Open Field Yards has a strong defensive line but its linebackers and secondary have difficulty in pursuit and tackling. A team with a low ranking in Adjusted Line Yards but a high ranking in Open Field Yards generally allows runners to get past the defensive line but the linebackers and secondary are good at pursuit and tackling. A low ranking in Adjusted Line Yards with a high ranking in Open Field Yards is often an indicator of a 3-4 defensive scheme, though there are exceptions.

Stats in blue represent pass rush. Teams are ranked according to Adjusted Sack Rate, which gives sacks (plus intentional grounding penalties) per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance, and opponent. Pass rush stats are explained further here. Our sack totals may differ slightly from official NFL totals depending on the league's retroactive statistical adjustments.

RUN BLOCKING PASS PROTECTION
Team Adj. Line
Yards
RB
Yards
Power
Success
Power
Rank
Stuffed Stuffed
Rank
2nd Level
Yards
2nd Level
Rank
Open Field
Yards
Open Field
Rank
Team Rank Sacks Adjusted
Sack Rate
1 TB 2.96 3.58 71% 27 33% 1 1.19 18 0.74 15 DEN 1 52 8.7%
2 STL 3.50 4.09 59% 13 25% 3 1.21 21 1.02 26 CIN 2 51 8.7%
3 CHI 3.52 4.11 60% 14 24% 5 1.20 19 0.92 24 STL 3 52 8.5%
4 HOU 3.62 3.93 59% 11 25% 4 1.22 23 0.67 12 GB 4 47 8.0%
5 DET 3.69 4.30 72% 28 26% 2 1.33 29 1.03 27 CAR 5 39 7.8%
6 OAK 3.80 4.27 58% 9 22% 9 1.01 2 1.18 30 HOU 6 44 7.3%
7 SD 3.80 3.81 59% 10 23% 7 1.18 15 0.54 8 ARI 7 38 7.2%
8 ATL 3.81 4.47 65% 21 20% 11 1.18 14 1.11 29 SD 8 38 7.0%
9 PHI 3.82 4.06 60% 16 22% 8 1.26 26 0.67 13 DAL 9 34 6.9%
10 NE 3.83 3.97 50% 2 19% 13 1.29 27 0.49 7 BAL 10 37 6.9%
11 MIA 3.85 3.88 64% 18 21% 10 1.04 5 0.63 9 PIT 11 37 6.7%
12 MIN 3.87 3.75 59% 12 24% 6 1.11 7 0.46 4 PHI 12 30 6.5%
13 PIT 3.89 3.78 66% 22 19% 14 1.03 4 0.47 5 TEN 13 39 6.5%
14 DEN 3.91 3.69 52% 6 18% 18 1.02 3 0.35 1 KC 14 27 6.5%
15 SF 3.92 3.68 60% 17 19% 16 0.97 1 0.42 2 CHI 15 41 6.4%
16 CIN 4.04 4.05 82% 32 18% 21 1.19 17 0.48 6 MIN 16 44 6.4%
RUN BLOCKING PASS PROTECTION
Team Adj. Line
Yards
RB
Yards
Power
Success
Power
Rank
Stuffed Stuffed
Rank
2nd Level
Yards
2nd Level
Rank
Open Field
Yards
Open Field
Rank
Team Rank Sacks Adjusted
Sack Rate
17 WAS 4.08 4.35 79% 31 17% 26 1.19 16 0.86 19 SF 17 38 6.4%
18 NYJ 4.09 4.33 56% 8 16% 27 1.10 6 0.89 23 CLE 18 38 6.3%
19 DAL 4.14 4.37 65% 20 16% 28 1.13 8 0.83 18 MIA 19 42 6.3%
20 KC 4.18 4.48 52% 5 18% 23 1.17 13 0.99 25 NYJ 20 30 6.2%
21 SEA 4.22 4.44 50% 3 18% 22 1.22 22 0.86 20 SEA 21 36 6.1%
22 GB 4.25 4.40 51% 4 17% 24 1.17 12 0.80 16 NYG 22 33 6.0%
23 CAR 4.30 4.45 66% 23 16% 29 1.23 24 0.88 22 BUF 23 36 6.0%
24 BUF 4.30 4.77 68% 25 18% 17 1.40 32 1.05 28 NE 24 37 6.0%
25 CLE 4.31 4.36 77% 30 15% 31 1.20 20 0.68 14 WAS 25 32 5.9%
26 JAC 4.31 4.16 69% 26 18% 20 1.14 9 0.67 10 ATL 26 29 5.8%
27 IND 4.32 5.10 64% 19 16% 30 1.15 10 1.49 32 IND 27 32 5.8%
28 BAL 4.33 4.10 76% 29 14% 32 1.16 11 0.42 3 NO 28 30 5.5%
29 TEN 4.39 4.35 67% 24 20% 12 1.36 30 0.67 11 DET 29 34 5.2%
30 NYG 4.42 4.65 48% 1 19% 15 1.26 25 0.87 21 OAK 30 25 4.9%
31 NO 4.47 5.29 60% 15 18% 19 1.38 31 1.48 31 TB 31 27 4.9%
32 ARI 4.49 4.58 55% 7 17% 25 1.31 28 0.80 17 JAC 32 20 4.0%
x NFL x 4.25 63% x 20% x 1.07 x 0.72 x NFL x 37 6.5%

This second table lists each team's Adjusted Line Yards in each direction listed in official NFL play-by-play, along with rank among the 32 teams. Only five directions are listed because research so far shows no statistically significant difference between how well a team performs on runs listed middle, left guard, and right guard. These runs are from the perspective of the OFFENSE, so a run listed as LEFT TACKLE is actually at the RIGHT defensive end.

LEFT END LEFT TACKLE MID/GUARD RIGHT TACKLE RIGHT END
TEAM ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank
1 TB 2.35 2 3.40 8 3.23 2 1.88 1 2.92 4
2 STL 3.46 9 3.72 11 2.94 1 4.18 20 5.13 27
3 CHI 3.56 10 4.55 27 3.75 8 3.55 4 1.82 1
4 HOU 1.57 1 3.80 12 3.83 9 3.63 7 2.85 3
5 DET 3.85 12 2.90 1 3.53 5 4.36 28 4.40 19
6 OAK 2.73 4 4.32 22 4.06 13 3.50 3 2.15 2
7 SD 3.36 6 2.96 2 3.88 10 3.76 13 5.44 31
8 ATL 3.39 7 3.40 7 4.15 18 3.69 11 3.60 11
9 PHI 3.41 8 3.49 9 3.93 11 3.70 12 4.19 17
10 NE 5.28 31 3.29 4 3.52 4 4.16 19 5.40 30
11 MIA 4.13 20 3.02 3 4.14 16 3.68 9 3.28 7
12 MIN 4.90 29 4.18 19 3.43 3 3.68 10 4.42 20
13 PIT 2.52 3 4.19 20 3.73 7 4.09 17 4.85 25
14 DEN 4.70 27 4.35 25 3.73 6 3.62 6 3.53 9
15 SF 2.97 5 4.04 15 4.13 14 3.66 8 3.37 8
16 CIN 3.87 13 3.30 5 4.23 20 4.35 27 3.56 10
LEFT END LEFT TACKLE MID/GUARD RIGHT TACKLE RIGHT END
TEAM ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank
17 WAS 3.89 14 3.33 6 4.14 17 3.99 16 4.91 26
18 NYJ 3.59 11 4.21 21 4.16 19 4.29 25 3.64 12
19 DAL 4.36 23 3.69 10 4.29 26 4.57 31 3.25 6
20 KC 3.92 17 5.40 32 4.24 22 4.23 22 3.09 5
21 SEA 3.89 15 3.99 14 4.25 23 4.24 23 4.63 23
22 GB 4.71 28 4.13 16 3.95 12 4.47 30 4.59 22
23 CAR 4.38 24 4.32 23 4.29 25 3.77 14 4.66 24
24 BUF 5.35 32 4.15 17 4.36 28 3.60 5 4.07 14
25 CLE 4.57 26 4.40 26 4.13 15 4.15 18 6.23 32
26 JAC 4.11 19 4.15 18 4.27 24 4.90 32 4.55 21
27 IND 4.24 21 3.91 13 4.31 27 4.27 24 5.21 29
28 BAL 3.94 18 4.35 24 4.41 29 4.42 29 4.16 16
29 TEN 4.29 22 4.67 29 4.50 31 4.34 26 3.69 13
30 NYG 4.49 25 4.69 30 4.55 32 3.98 15 4.13 15
31 NO 5.06 30 4.62 28 4.24 21 3.38 2 5.14 28
32 ARI 3.92 16 5.09 31 4.47 30 4.21 21 4.30 18
x NFL 3.98 x 4.05 x 4.05 x 3.99 x 4.11 x

The third table lists how often each team runs in each direction. These runs are from the perspective of the OFFENSE, so a run listed as LEFT TACKLE is actually at the RIGHT defensive end. Numbers may not add up to 100% due to carries listed without direction.

Team RB
Carries
LEFT
END
LEFT
TACKLE
MID/
GUARD
RIGHT
TACKLE
RIGHT
END
1 SEA 299 8% 13% 49% 21% 9%
2 WAS 310 18% 11% 49% 10% 12%
3 TB 320 14% 13% 55% 11% 8%
4 HOU 336 6% 10% 68% 10% 6%
5 CHI 338 16% 13% 44% 14% 13%
6 SD 346 15% 9% 53% 11% 11%
7 PIT 350 5% 16% 50% 24% 5%
8 STL 350 10% 24% 45% 16% 5%
9 DET 353 15% 18% 39% 15% 12%
10 MIN 353 14% 14% 50% 12% 11%
11 SF 354 7% 12% 59% 17% 5%
12 CIN 357 11% 10% 54% 15% 10%
13 CAR 359 13% 13% 55% 9% 10%
14 NE 359 9% 16% 57% 10% 8%
15 DEN 361 14% 13% 52% 12% 9%
16 ATL 367 15% 12% 47% 12% 14%
Team RB
Carries
LEFT
END
LEFT
TACKLE
MID/
GUARD
RIGHT
TACKLE
RIGHT
END
17 GB 373 10% 16% 40% 19% 14%
18 NYG 374 15% 13% 44% 15% 13%
19 MIA 376 14% 13% 49% 15% 9%
20 OAK 376 10% 15% 57% 11% 6%
21 IND 382 13% 11% 54% 13% 8%
22 NO 391 18% 17% 38% 13% 15%
23 DAL 398 13% 16% 48% 13% 10%
24 PHI 405 14% 10% 51% 11% 13%
25 BUF 412 7% 15% 63% 12% 2%
26 CLE 412 8% 22% 49% 17% 4%
27 TEN 419 13% 11% 54% 12% 10%
28 KC 427 11% 8% 63% 9% 8%
29 BAL 441 11% 16% 50% 14% 10%
30 NYJ 443 11% 18% 51% 16% 4%
31 ARI 444 8% 20% 45% 20% 7%
32 JAC 477 14% 8% 61% 7% 10%
x NFL x 12% 14% 52% 14% 9%